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The Theory of the Leisure Class (Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics) Paperback – February 1, 1994
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"In his first and most fascinating book, Veblen was mocking a process as old as civilization. He expressed his skepticism in a rough-hewn prose style which made him the most impressive American satirist of his day."
"Every brash, upcoming generation should discover Veblen, and most complacent adults need to rediscover him."
—The Minneapolis Tribune--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Now a classic of economic theory, as well as a text book of social science, it describes the tendencies of consumerism, leisure and the "materialization" of the ideals of the aspiring new princes (or noveau rich) of society. Veblen's vibrant satire of the tendency of the modern individual to believe that real accomplishment is all about aquiring a condition of ostentatious wealth and status, and his analisis of the inception of modern class structure in America, still stand, a century after, as recommended reading for historians and economists.
If you are a fervent follower of advertisement, fashion, "glamour" and other modern expressions of consumerism , then you will find a surprisingly fresh portrait of yourself in this book. It worries me that the leisure class and its shallow views and values as described by Veblen, may still today represent elites in America and their religion, as analyzed by professor Lash in his last book "The Revolt of the Elites". I highly recommend Veblen's best book, to scholars and sociologists at large.
Surplus of conspicuous consumption by the Leisure Class gives the class license to indulge shamefully in pure conspicuous consumption, where their occupations eventually become leisure itself.Read more ›
According to Veblen, the urge to consume conspicuously explains a lot of human behavior, including fashion, sports, and religion. In all cases the consumer wants to demonstrate to his peers that he can't possibly be involved in doing anything useful. A particularly funny consequence of the urge to consume is the notion of "vicarious consumption," in which really rich people acquire other people (essentially servants and wives) to do their consuming for them. To emphasize the point they dress up their vicarious consumers in preposterous outfits and require them to perform pointless tasks with high precision (think of a butler in a tuxedo serving a 12-course meal or some such).
In this vein, anthropomorphic religions essentially worship the richest guy of all. God is imagined to be so rich that he sits on a throne all day while people in silly clothes (clergy) do nothing but tend to his fabulous mansions (churches).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
"property now becomes the most easily recognized evidence of a reputable degrees of success as distinguished from heroic or signal achievement. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Nicole O'Donnell
This review calls for some humility – it's like being asked to review Shakespeare and asked whether It is any good. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Geoffrey E. Hart
I had to read this for a theory class and while many of the concepts mentioned in this book have been classically canonized and should be learned for the sake of knowledge and... Read morePublished 21 months ago by Adella
I simply delight in the way Veblen writes about his topic., This particular piece still hits the nail on the head today.Published 23 months ago by Malcolm L. Floyd
This is an unusual and unique book, unlike many other books I've read. Over the course of reading it, thoughts kept coming to mind like "Is this serious? Read morePublished on July 21, 2013 by zkcom1